I Gede Eka Wira Dharma, more commonly (and conveniently) known as Ayok, is one of Canggu’s finest longboarders. His easy, confident style and sure-footed finesse is absolutely mesmerizing to watch as he dances along the waves of Batu Balong Beach. Growing up in the small village of Canggu, he’s seen the rise of Indonesian surf culture and has become part of a generation where fishing is no longer his family’s main source of income. This is an insight into his story.
// Surfing has given you so much. How has this sport and the Deus family contributed to shaping your life today?
Surfing for me is something that comes from my soul. It’s an everyday ritual that I will continue for the rest of my life. I don’t care what people think about this sport or myself in general; surfing is purely rhythm and passion. DEUS- those guys are pretty cool. They are my second family. They are more than just a brand; the feeling that I get from meeting these good people is insane. It’s always been about who’s been there for me and how people treat me along the way- I cannot express the amount of love I have for those guys!
// Back when you were a kid growing up in your home town of Canggu, it was just a small fishing village with one big, beautiful, empty lineup. How has surfing and the tourism industry changed that?
Canggu was one of the best spots a while ago, and I really miss that. I guess there wasn’t more than six people in the water at a time; you can imagine how wonderful that would be! It’s been messed around after people started talking about Canggu and how good it is. So many people in the water, all the waves caught- but not necessarily ridden, no rules, and kooks everywhere. I mean it’s awesome for local business; board rental, restaurants and small warungs on the beach gather a lot of customers. However the people who come should be curious in knowing who and how they are; get to know the local people. If you do something kind you will receive something good back.
// Can you tell me about the origins of the lobster nets on the longboards?
Before we used to take people surfing, we’d catch lobsters to pay for our school costs, and also for our arak (an alcoholic drink like rum made from rice and molasses) Lobster is delicious. It was a gold before. When we go surfing we put the net out during sunset and pick it up the next morning with big hopes of a catch. Looking back, I miss those moments now.
// With the commercialisation and capitalism of Bali, what do you think is the best way to prevent Canggu from becoming like Seminyak or Kuta? Is there a way?
Canggu is still the small and lovely place that I know. It’s the place that I was born and have grown up in; my playground filled with beautiful memories. It would be a real shame if capitalism and money makers waste it away like Kuta and other places in Bali. People come here for the small, chill town that it is. We need to filter out what is coming in, and protect it from major development projects and growth like that. It’s much better to promote small local businesses than hotel sky rises. Everyone needs to make money, but they shouldn’t go crazy and get greedy over it. I wish I can call Canggu my home forever- with no risk behind it.
// Surf teaching is a pretty rewarding job, let alone good fun. What’s a day in the life of Ayok?
It’s a dream job haha. An amazing lifestyle, hobby and so many girls… Hahaha no no don’t worry my girlfriend is here with me. I normally do about 2-3 two hour sessions of teaching each day, otherwise I’m surfing myself or back working at my homestay. I enjoy it at the moment. Just doing my best!
// One dream wave that you wish to travel to?
This interview is also featured on the Deus Ex Machina blog.